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Some would say the words “house” and “home” are synonymous, although most who have moved into a new place would agree that a strange period of unfamiliarity occurs before an apartment becomes cozy enough to earn the sacred title of “home.” The foreign sights, smells, and even sounds of a new place can require some acclimating, but the right strategies and small touches can expedite that process. Here are four tips to help transform your new house into a warm, comfortable home you can truly call your own.

1. Capitalize on Color


photographs-on-wallImage via Flickr by Horia Varlan

There’s something instinctively comforting about seeing your favorite hues in your living space. Splashing a room with a well-chosen color scheme is a surefire way to make your new place homier. Try designing a room around your signature color. If you choose a bolder color, consider painting just one wall so as not to overwhelm the room. Also, in smaller spaces, darker colors can actually make the room feel smaller, so lighter, airy colors are preferable. Once you decide on the main color, choose small accents, such as pillows, lamp shades, or even flowers, that feature varying shades of the central color.

2. Add Aroma

Psychologists say our olfactory senses are powerfully correlated with memory and emotion, which means establishing an inviting scent is a critical step in making a house a home. After you move in, do a load of laundry using your favorite detergent and fabric softener, making sure to wash your sheets to get the aroma to linger. You might also try tossing orange peels and cinnamon sticks in a pot and simmer them for a while on low heat. Finally, try spritzing your lightbulbs (when cool to the touch) with your favorite perfume or cologne. The scent will then fill the room when the light is turned on.

3. Personalize with Pictures

Nothing says home like seeing the welcoming faces of loved ones memorialized in photographs on the walls. The decorating possibilities are endless with pictures, especially if you consider alternative ways to display your photos. For example, you might show photos in glass jars, choose a wall to cover from floor to ceiling in framed photos, insert a picture into an old window frame, or place some on hanging clipboards for an ever-changing gallery. Getting creative in your display methods will help you dig out some of those treasured photos you’ve been hoarding in albums all these years.

4. Highlight Your Hobby

No need to spend extra money on decorative items when the accouterments of your hobby will do just fine. Showcase your passion by displaying your instruments, putting up your easel and paints, or designing a scrapbooking station. Your talents will help your home shine.
Feeling like a stranger in a brand new place is normal, but a few simple techniques can change an impersonal house into an inviting forever home. Strategic use of color, scents, and photos provides the small touches that make a home. It might still be new to you, but you will soon feel like it’s exactly where you belong.


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